Ready to satisfy those cravings for deep-fried foods, cheer on a bronc buster at the rodeo, and win a stuffed animal for your honey? The Arizona State Fair kicked off on October 16 and runs through November 8.
The fair, which is routinely cited as one of the top state fairs in the nation, attracts about one million people every year and features chart-topping musical acts as well as agricultural exhibits, livestock shows, culinary demonstrations, monster trucks, model railroad displays, and the United States Armwrestling Championships.
During the course of the fair, there are also two rodeos—the High School Rodeo and the All Indian Rodeo—plus performances by the Native Spirit Dancers. Check the online calendar for these events and performances as well as the concert schedule.
In addition, there will be approximately 75 different amusement park rides, ranging from the kid-friendly merry-go-round to the high-speed, 3.5 G-inducing Mach 1. Anywhere from four to 20 tickets are required for the Midway rides although you can purchase Unlimited Ride Wristbands for $25 to $35.
Between rides, you can stroll through the Caribbean Village, where you’ll find cocktails and shopping, or take the kids to Mindworks, a 5,000-square-foot attraction featuring puzzles and brain teasers, giant classic games, a construction zone, a bubble area, and more. There’s also a special exhibit on extraterrestrials called Encounters that’s worth checking out, too.
The Arizona State Fair always has an impressive concert line-up. Among those performing this year are Brett Michaels, Meat Loaf, Rick Springfield, Sheryl Crow, Jackson Brown, Jane’s Addiction, Flo Rida, and Third Day. Reserved seating is available for purchase online and ranges from $15 to $25, depending on the act.
If food is one of the main reasons you go, you’re not alone. This year, there will be more than 100 food booths, featuring everything from corn dogs and turkey legs to “spaghetti” ice cream covered in strawberry sauce and affogato, ice cream topped with a double shot of espresso. You’ll also find the deep-fried staples: Oreo, butter, Nutella, coffee, watermelon, and more.
Must-try food items for 2015 include the brownie caramel funnel cake, deep-fried nachos, bacon-wrapped pork belly, Frosted Flake fried chicken, and a deep-fried PBJ cheesecake.
Tickets to the fair can be purchased online. General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 13 and under and for seniors 55 and over (Presale tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for children and seniors). You can also purchase VIP parking ($20), a season pass (from $9), a fast pass ($25) that gives you front-of-the-line access to the rides, and a coupon book ($5) with more than $1,000 off of food, games, rides, and shopping.
Before you buy tickets, though, check out the online discount page to learn about ways and times you can get into the fair for less or even for free. For example, admission is free on Wednesdays until 6 p.m. and between 12 noon and 1 p.m. on Thursdays. You and a friend can also get in for free on Fridays if you bring a receipt from Fry’s showing you spent $40 or more at the store.
On other days, you can get a $3 discount on one regularly priced admission by bringing in a receipt from any store showing that you purchased one milk product, one cheese product, and one yogurt product. Another program gives any child that read three age-appropriate books three free carnival ride tickets.
The fair opens at noon Wednesday through Friday and at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It closes every night at 9 p.m. except on Friday and Saturday when it closes at 10 p.m. The fair is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Get out and make the most of that beautiful fall weather during the last week of the Arizona State Fair!